The Missile Defense Agency is lessening its ambitions
for the number of ships that will be equipped with ballistic missile defense to 39 from 48. Between the Navy buying fewer, more expensive ships and opting not to staff ships in drydock with BMD-qualified crews, the number 39 seemed more realistic, if further away from the commanders' request of 70.
Technically, the Ticonderoga Class cruisers sit at the pinnacle of the US Navy’s surface combatant fleet. They’re no longer being built, however, and the growing preponderance of Arleigh Burke Class destroyers in missile defense roles is beginning to push them to the fore. A proposed Flight III design with a much-improved radar set will complete that transformation.
The USA’s FY 2013 budget documents include a proposed $16.189 billion Multi-Year Procurement deal for 9 destroyers from FY 2013 – 2017: DDGs 117 – 125, with the award split between General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and Huntington Ingalls Industries. The buy intends to include both existing Flight IIA ship designs, and new Flight IIIs.